Altered States: Buddhism and Psychedelic Spirituality in America

Hardcover | April 26, 2016

byDouglas Osto

not yet rated|write a review

In the 1960s, Americans combined psychedelics with Buddhist meditation to achieve direct experience through altered states of consciousness. As some practitioners became more committed to Buddhism, they abandoned the use of psychedelics in favor of stricter mental discipline, but others carried on with the experiment, advancing a fascinating alchemy called psychedelic Buddhism.

Many think exploration with psychedelics in Buddhism faded with the revolutionary spirit of the sixties, but the underground practice has evolved into a brand of religiosity as eclectic and challenging as the era that created it. Altered States combines interviews with well-known figures in American Buddhism and psychedelic spirituality-including Lama Surya Das, Erik Davis, Geoffrey Shugen Arnold Sensei, Rick Strassman, and Charles Tart-and personal stories of everyday practitioners to define a distinctly American religious phenomenon. The nuanced perspective that emerges, grounded in a detailed history of psychedelic religious experience, adds critical depth to debates over the controlled use of psychedelics and drug-induced mysticism. The book also opens new paths of inquiry into such issues as re-enchantment, the limits of rationality, the biochemical and psychosocial basis of altered states of consciousness, and the nature of subjectivity.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$35.00

In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

In the 1960s, Americans combined psychedelics with Buddhist meditation to achieve direct experience through altered states of consciousness. As some practitioners became more committed to Buddhism, they abandoned the use of psychedelics in favor of stricter mental discipline, but others carried on with the experiment, advancing a fasc...

Douglas Osto is senior lecturer in the philosophy and Asian studies programs and program coordinator of the Asian studies program in the School of Humanities at Massey University. He is the author of Power, Wealth, and Women in Indian Mahayana Buddhism and has published articles in the Journal of Indian Philosophy, Journal of Religiou...

other books by Douglas Osto

Format:HardcoverDimensions:328 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:April 26, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231177305

ISBN - 13:9780231177306

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of Altered States: Buddhism and Psychedelic Spirituality in America

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Buddhism and the Psychedelic Connection2. The Psychedelic Revolution3. The Buddhist Revolution4. Opening the Door: Psychedelics as a Gateway to Buddhist Practice5. Closing the Door: The Fifth Precept and Graduating from Psychedelics6. Keeping the Door Open: Psychedelics as an Adjunct to Buddhist Practice7. Are Psychedelics "the True Dharma"?: Debates, Presuppositions, and Philosophical IssuesConclusionsPostscriptNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"[Altered States] mixes statistics and surveys, historical overview, personal experience, and ethnographic texture to uncover the intertwining history of two fast-growing movements in American spirituality.... This overview will appeal to anyone interested in Buddhism, psychedelic possibilities, and understanding how both are forging a controversial new American religious experience.